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US DOE announces US$17.5M to support cost-effective community WtE solutions

US DOE announces US$17.5M to support cost-effective community WtE solutions
A municipal wastewater treatment plant (photo courtesy Istock.com).

In the United States (US), the Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) have announced up to US$17.5 million in federal funding to develop cost-effective strategies for communities to sustainably manage and recover potential clean energy sources from their waste streams.

The WASTE: Waste Analysis and Strategies for Transportation End-Uses funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will support municipalities and transit authorities with waste-to-energy solutions for converting organic waste into feedstocks for various clean transportation fuel products that can benefit local energy economies.

VTO is excited to collaborate with the Bioenergy Technologies Office and support innovative processes for producing low-carbon biofuels that reduce transportation emissions. This funding allows us to assist the scale-up of efforts crucial to driving the development of sustainable fuels for hard-to-decarbonize transportation modes, said VTO Director, Dr Austin Brown.

Organic waste streams from food waste, wastewater sludge, and industrial operations represent major greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions sources and contribute to air and water quality degradation.

Significant costs are associated with the management of these waste streams, including treatment, stabilization, hauling, and disposal or tipping costs.

This funding will also benefit communities by reducing other impacts associated with waste collection and landfilling of wastes, including reducing heavy vehicle traffic, odors, and litter.

For many local communities nationwide, local waste handling and disposal can present economic, health, and environmental challenges. As these facilities are disproportionately located in historically underserved communities, this joint BETO and VTO funding will directly support the Biden – Harris administration’s goal of a clean and equitable energy economy by 2050, said BETO Director, Dr Valerie Sarisky-Reed.

Recognizing that communities may be at different stages in their sustainable waste management planning efforts, this FOA seeks a phased approach to address the above challenges through two Topic Areas:

  • Topic Area 1: Feasibility Study Development Analyses will help move communities beyond a conceptualization phase and will include activities such as feasibility studies, identification of transportation use cases, and sustainability indicator baselining.
  • Topic Area 2: Design Work and Experimental Validation will support and advance more detailed engineering design work for communities that are further along and may have already identified potential solutions for their waste/transportation needs. Projects selected under Topic Area 2 will have an opportunity to construct and operate their designed pilot facility based on the down-select process described in the FOA.

Interested applicants are encouraged to look at eligibility information in the FOA and review the teaming partner list to identify potential project collaborators and sign up.

This FOA seeks community leadership in these projects including municipalities, counties, Tribal governments, non-profit groups, and community-based organizations.

DOE intends to award up to 14 financial assistance awards as cooperative agreements lasting 12 to 24 months under this FOA.

If selected to construct and operate the pilot facility, an additional 48 months will be available to complete these activities.

Required concept papers are due by June 19, 2024, and the full application deadline by August 14, 2024.

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